Fibre, or more specifically dietary fibre, is one of the most underrated nutrients out there. You might be aware that fibre plays a large role in preventing constipation and adding bulk to your waste, making it easier to pass through the intestinal tract, but there’s more than meets the eye. There are essentially two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre becomes viscous when it dissolves in water. Additionally, it manages the sugar levels in the body and encourages the elimination of fatty substances including cholesterol. Whereas insoluble fibre, unlike soluble fibre does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk and softens the stools. Hence, insoluble fibre supports bowel consistency.
Benefits Of a High Fibre Intake
Ensuring that you are receiving adequate fibre from your daily intake is important for the overall health and function of the body. Foods rich in fibre tend to be a rich source of nutrients while being low in calories. Apart from regulating blood sugar levels, fibre can lower the risk of breast cancer colorectal cancer and diabetes.
A Healthier Bowel Function
Dietary fibre works in two ways to prevent constipation. Firstly, it adds weight to your stools, secondly, it softens it. This, in turn, allows the stool to travel through the intestinal tract easily. Additionally, insoluble fibre lowers the transportation time of food waste moving through the intestinal tract. One major advantage of this is that the dietary fibre goes a long way in shortening the interaction time between potentially harmful compounds found in the food waste and the contact they have on the intestinal wall. This measure keeps the body protected from infections and diseases.
Regulate Blood Sugar Level
The biggest draw of soluble fibre is its ability to break down the glucose in food at a gradual pace, which prevents blood sugar spikes in the blood and instead slowly releases the sugars from digested food into the bloodstream. This will ensure that your energy levels are sustained throughout the day, and you won’t be grabbing a snack anytime soon either since an adequate level of soluble fibre in your diet will keep you feeling fuller for longer periods of time.
Another important role of soluble fibre is its ability to lower LDL-cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol in the blood. The main function of fibre is to aid bile acids to pass through the intestinal tract as waste. It’s important to note that bile acids are actually made of cholesterol. This is essentially how the body is able to absorb less dietary cholesterol.
Aid In Weight Management
Consuming high-fibre foods has been one of the best ways to manage and maintain weight. Since high-fibre foods take a longer time to chew and digest, it tricks the brain into thinking that you are receiving the required amount of food for the meal, which stops you from eating more. Additionally, the added bulk in high-fibre food leaves you feeling fuller longer and curbs your cravings. As a general rule of thumb, you should consume a variety of high-fibre foods. And if you have low dietary fibre diet, you should gradually introduce these kinds of foods instead of suddenly introducing large amounts of dietary fibre into your diet as this might cause flatulence and bloating.
Best Sources Of Fibre
From seeds to fruits, there are several food sources that are touted for their fibre content.
As a rich source of fibre, chia seeds have been praised for its abundant health properties such as improving and stimulating healthy bowel movements. They are also an extremely important ingredient to have when looking to lose weight. Due to their ability to absorb a substantial amount of water, which causes the seeds to expand in the stomach, chia seeds leave you feeling fuller in a shorter amount of time. This inadvertently contributes to significant weight loss as feeling sated will curb cravings.
Besides being high in fibre, flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for the health of the skin, hair and the body. Additionally, these fatty acids are also responsible for preventing the development of ailments and conditions such as depression and rheumatoid arthritis. Flaxseeds are necessary for keeping the heart healthy as well. If you want to get the most of this superfood, consider grounding the seeds into a powder before consuming it.
As a delicious and completely satisfying snack, almonds are one of the best sources of fibre. In addition to being a good source of dietary fibre, almonds are comprised of vitamin E and magnesium. Both of these nutrients prevent heart disease, improve cardiac health and lower the insulin resistance in the body. Vitamin E also boosts immunity and functions as an antioxidant, which is necessary for combating the harmful effects of free radical damage on the cells.
Pumpkin seeds are another fibre-rich food that should be included in your diet. High in zinc and magnesium, pumpkin seeds help to keep bones healthy, induce sleep and enhance mood. They work well to reduce blood pressure and boost cardiac health. Pumpkin seeds also contain anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties that help to maintain and improve the overall health of the body.